Chris Mountain Fire update July 4: Red Flag Warning issued, 477 acres, 0% containment


Chris Mountain Fire Update 

July 4­, 2023  9:00 am 

Rocky Mountain Area Complex Incident Management Team Three 

Matt Spring, Incident Commander  

Date Reported: June 28, 2023 

Cause: Lightning 

Size: 477 acres 

Containment: 0% 

Total Personnel: 482 

Location: 12 Mile west-northwest of Pagosa Springs, CO 

Special Notes: A RED FLAG WARNING has been issued today, July 4, for gusty wind, high temperatures, and low humidity. Fire activity may increase on the Chris Mountain Fire, and any new fire starts could grow rapidly.  

Happy 4th of July! The town of Pagosa Springs will be busy today, and crews are still traveling back and forth to the fire. Please use extra caution while driving and help keep our fire fighters and community members safe. 

Current Situation: The Chris Mountain Fire saw minimal growth yesterday with a total increase of 18 acres. Along the eastern edge, fire continues to back down the slope, consuming unburned fuels on the west side of the creek. On the western edge of the fire, firefighters improved direct fireline running south to north from Snow Angel Ranch to the topographical “bowl” feature located on the northern edge of the fire. Dozers successfully constructed more fireline around the edge of the bowl. As seen on today’s map, there are some small spot fires in the bowl, near the rim. Fire managers assessed these spots yesterday and found minimal to moderate fire activity. The area is steep and filled with thick oak brush and is not currently a safe place to insert firefighters given the anticipated weather conditions. Firefighters and aircraft will continue to monitor these spots today, and aerial resources will help to cool areas of heat if needed. Smoke may be visible from this northern area. 

In Snow Angel Ranch, fire crews completed an indirect fire line running east to established dozer lines, connecting to existing forest service road systems. This indirect hand line near the ranch has been “plumbed,” using pumps, hose, and water sources on the ranch, to aid in holding the line should the fire progress south. Today, firefighters will test this “plumbed” system to ensure it functions as needed, and they will patrol the direct line along the west edge of the fire. 

Weather & Smoke Information: A RED FLAG WARNING has been issued today. Temperatures will be up to the high 80s. Winds are expected to come from the SW and blow consistently at 15 mph with gusts over 25 mph. Relative humidity will be as low as 10%. These conditions may contribute to increased fire activity. 

Closures: San Juan National Forest has a closure order in effect: 

Evacuations: Archuleta County has issued mandatory evacuations for Forest Road 628, effective June 28th, 2023. To sign up for emergency notifications, visit the Archuleta County Emergency Operations website. You may also find evacuation information on their Facebook page or call the Chris Mountain Evacuees Call Center: at 970-264-8373  

Temporary Flight Restrictions: A TFR is in place at this time. TFR link: 

Fire Information Phoneline: (970) 549-8799    Hours: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm